There are a number of important factors that are involved in successfully setting up a new warehouse – yard flow, racking/shelving, staff training, IT infrastructure deployment, and hundreds of other activities. One that might get overlooked, however, is the importance of warehouse signage and location labeling.
Having a logical, efficient flow of goods and employees throughout the facility will be critical for productivity and throughput. Signage and labeling will help ensure that everyone involved can easily figure out where inventory needs to go next. Visible, easy-to-understand signage also makes it easier to train new employees on your warehouse flow.
With a methodical approach to planning and design, you can be sure your signage will be effective. Here are five important signage tips to follow when setting up a warehouse:
- Work with your label provider/manufacturer throughout the planning and installation process. Your labeling provider can bring a level of experience and expertise to the planning process that will make it easier (and faster) to ensure you have the right signage solutions.
Engage them early in the process. Depending on your labeling partner, they may be able to fully manage signage/labeling design, production, and installation. This can free up your project management team to focus on other critical issues.
- Before making any decisions, review your warehouse to determine what your needs are. Fully map out your shelving/racking as well as inventory flow from receiving through storage and shipping. What are your pick paths going to be? What kind of lighting will be in place?
Once you have the physical design of the warehouse mapped out, you can determine what types of rack labels you’ll need, where they’ll be placed, and how large they need to be. Floor plates and retro-reflective hanging signage can be added to help identify aisles/workspaces and direct workflows.
- Ensure that the signs and labels you choose are in line with your environment and the technology you use. The signage and labels need to be legible, so take into account your lighting conditions and how far away employees will be from the signs/labels.
If workers will need to scan aisle, shelf or rack labels as part of the picking or putaway process, you’ll need to consider the barcode scanning technology you will use, the distance you will be scanning from, and how harsh the environment will be on the labels.
Cold storage environments and other extreme conditions may require special labels and adhesives to ensure the labels will remain in place.
- Choose the right mounting method for your signage. Hanging signs can provide long-range visibility if your racking is likely to block aisle signs. Signs for aisle end-caps can also be used to offer visibility from a variety of different distances and positions. There are even signs and labels that can be attached to conduit or PVC pipe.
For highly dynamic warehouses with frequently shifting storage requirements, magnetic signs can be easily swapped out and repositioned. There are also foam adhesive, cinch strap, snap ring, and screw/bolt options.
- Prepare your facility for labeling. Dirt and dust can accumulate quickly, both of which can impact how the label adhesive takes to the surface. Your racks, shelves, beams and other surfaces should be cleaned prior to sign/label installation.
Determine ahead of time what types of equipment you’ll need for installation (such as power lifts and booms) and make sure there is a power supply available for this equipment. Confirm access for your label personnel or third-party vendors so the installation process can be managed efficiently.
Invest in reliable barcode printers to help ensure crisp, scannable labels. Imprint offers a number of Zebra printers that can create full color shelf and rack labels, including the new ZT510 and ZT600 Series printers, which can print labels from 4 inches to 6 inches.
Warehouse signage makes it easy for your staff to determine where they need to go to complete their work. This cuts down on stocking and picking times, because anyone can quickly find any location at a distance.
With proper planning, you can meet your signage needs and easily set up your new warehouse for successful operation.